Barnabas Bulletin ~ 0164
THE COST OF SPARING THE
In 1 Samuel 15 we have the revealing story of the cost of not fully obeying the voice of the Lord. The first king of Israel, Saul, was instructed by God to “Go and attack Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and do not spare them” (v.3). Saul heard what God had spoken to him, yet we discover that he was only partially obedient to the command. As we read through the chapter we discover that Saul’s decision to “spare the good things” was to prove very costly for him and his people.
When Samuel the prophet was sent to reprove Saul, we find that Saul was confessing that he had indeed obeyed the Lord. But he was in deception ~ the good things of the Amalekites had deceived him. You will also notice that Saul was hiding behind a form of spirituality by declaring that they had spared the good things to “sacrifice to the Lord” (v. 15). How interesting that human nature seeks to cover its disobedience to God by declaring the result of that disobedience is “for the Lord”!! But God is not mocked, and God is not fooled by our covetousness and desires for “sparing the good things.” It is recorded: “But Saul and the people spared Agag (king of the Amalekites) and the best of the sheep, the oxen, the fatlings, the lambs, and all that was good, and were unwilling to utterly destroy them. But everything despised and worthless, that they utterly destroyed” (1 Samuel 15:9 ). As a result, God said to the Prophet Samuel, “I greatly regret that I have set up Saul as king, for he has turned back from following Me, and has not performed My commandments” (v. 10-11). Saul paid a huge price for his disobedience that day:
1. He lost his anointing
2. He lost his respect, and
3. He lost his kingship (ruling authority).
Things changed that day for Saul because of his pride in thinking he knew better than God. Like most disobedient leaders, he blamed the people for his rebellion against the voice of the Lord.
- The “good things” that he spared were the very things that found him out ~ the “bleating of the sheep” (v. 14)!
In summing up His Sermon on the Mount, Jesus made this statement to His listeners: “But why do you call Me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do the things which I say?” (Luke 6:47 ). He then went on to tell us of the wise and foolish man. The wise man was wise because he listened to Jesus and obeyed what He said; while the foolish man only listened to Jesus, but did not apply and do what He said. The difference between the two men was success for the wise man and total loss for the foolish man. Maybe the foolish man “spared the good things”, like Saul did?
- The foolish man paid a very high price for his disobedience!
This is a huge challenge and lesson for every Christian today. So many of us are wanting to have the “good things” of life, but if God has asked us to sacrifice them for His sake, then we need to do that, because God always has our best at heart ~ He wants us to enjoy the best, but with His way of providing it, and in a way that He gets the glory. This message explains one reason why the Christian Church seems to be so powerless in these days ~ not much anointing, not much respect, and not much authority. We have spared the good things ~ things that God wants us to give up for Him. We have compromised with the ways of the world, and it has cost us dearly. In Christianity, “having the best of both worlds” does not work! God is trying to get us to the place where we will totally trust whatever He says to us, and that we will obey Him without question ~ because we have learned that “the Word of the Lord is right”; that there is nothing more sure and accurate than that which God speaks. But we have to trust and obey what He says in order to see the fulfilment of His promises to us! And that means a total commitment to whatever He says.
GOD TESTS OUR COMMITMENT
We need to know that God does test our commitment to Him. When we say that He comes first in our lives, then He will test us to see if we really do put Him first before anyone and everything else. When we demonstrate to God that He is, indeed, “Number One” and we value Him above all else, then He can trust us with assignments that clearly show the handiwork of God that are accompanied by supernatural signs, wonders and miracles. Let’s face it:
- If we have the Living, Supernatural Jesus Christ residing within us, then surely there should be some evidence of a Supernatural God at work in and through us??!!
The world is sick of religion ~ it is crying out for a demonstration of the Risen, Living Lord Jesus Christ manifest in and amongst His people. If we do not learn this lesson, then we will go the way of Saul and finish up with nothing of eternal value to show for our lives. Let the voice of God guide you into all truth, and into a life of total commitment that has no regrets! ~ Rodney W. Francis.
Prayer: “Dear Lord God, I come to You in the name of Jesus Christ Your Son, and I ask You to help me to yield myself more to the leading of Your Holy Spirit, and to be able to demonstrate to You that You are indeed the First Priority in my life. I ask You to help me to see the benefits of doing what you have said. Help me to yield everything I have and am to You. Thank You, Lord Jesus, for hearing my prayer. In Jesus’ name I pray these things, Amen.”